From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
David Hamilton (born April 15, 1933) is a photographer from Britain. Hamilton began photographing commercially while still employed as art director of the Parisian department store Printemps, and the dreamy, grainy style of his images quickly brought him success. In December, 1977, Images Gallery in New York City showed his photographs, at the same time that Bilitis was released. His soft focus style also came back into fashion at Vogue, ELLE and other high-class fashion magazines from around 2003.
As much of Hamilton's work depicts early-teen girls, often nude, he has been the subject of some controversy and even child pornography allegations, mostly from North America and Britain, similar to that which the work of Sally Mann and Jock Sturges have attracted. In the late 1990s, some American Christian conservatives protested bookstores that stocked Hamilton's photography books but their efforts came to nothing. Because of differing attitudes regarding age and nudity, Hamilton has not received this negative attention in his adopted home of France, nor in the rest of the world.
In 2005 a member of the Surrey Police in Britain wrongly claimed that possessing Hamilton books was now illegal in the UK. Surrey Police were later forced to make a formal apology for the incorrect and unsubstantiated allegations made by Detective constable Simon Ledger (see: British Journal of Photography, September 2005), and admitted that no legally binding decision had been made on the work of David Hamilton.
The Guardian (UK), June 23, 2005, wrote: Hamilton's photographs have long been at the forefront of the "is it art or pornography?" debate. Glenn Holland, spokesman for the 73-year-old photographer, who lives in St Tropez, said: "We are deeply saddened and disappointed by this, as David is one of the most successful art photographers the world has ever known. His books have sold millions".
Selected Books and films
- Dreams of a Young Girl (1971)
- Sisters (1972)
- La Danse (1972)
- Souvenirs (1974)
- The Best of David Hamilton (1976)
- David Hamilton's Private Collection (1976)
- Hamilton's Movie (1977)
- The Young Girl (1978)
- Tender Cousins (1981)
- Twenty Five Years of an Artist (1993)
- The Age of Innocence (1995)
- A Place In The Sun (1996)
- Holiday Snapshots (1999)
- David Hamilton (November 2006)
- Erotic Tales (French only so far) (December 2006)
- Bilitis (1977)
- Laura, les ombres de l'été (1979)
- Tendres cousines (1980)
- Premier désirs (1983)
- A Summer in St. Tropez (Un été à Saint-Tropez) (1984)